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The latest news on Defense from Business Insider

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    Children play along a street in the rebel-held al-Sheikh Said neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria September 1, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

    Government shelling and airstrikes in Syria's Aleppo landed near a bread distribution center and two hospitals Wednesday, killing seven people and putting at least one of the medical facilities completely out of service, activists and medics said.

    U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon described the conditions in eastern, rebel-held Aleppo as worse than a "slaughterhouse" at a Security Council meeting.

    "Those using ever more destructive weapons know exactly what they are doing — they know they are committing war crimes," Ban said, without naming any countries. Syria's government is waging a major offensive in Aleppo and both Syria and Russia are carrying out airstrikes on the city.

    Doctors Without Borders, which supported both of the hospitals damaged Wednesday, said a "brutal and relentless onslaught from air and land" has left eastern Aleppo with just seven surgical doctors to treat a population of some 250,000.

    The head of the organization, also known by its French acronym MSF, said people are being taken off life support because of a "multitude" of wounded, and doctors in eastern Aleppo are left to "await their own deaths."

    Joanna Liu called the war "a race to the bottom," and called on the U.N. Security Council to "enact an absolute prohibition of attacks on medical facilities."

    Aref al-Aref, a nurse at M2, one of the hospitals, said government shelling hit the bread distribution center near the city center before dawn. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Aleppo Media Center said six people were killed outside the center.

    Russian airstrike syria bomber

    As the wounded were brought into the hospital, one of five shells fired in a sequence fell at the emergency entrance, killing a person who was accompanying a wounded patient, al-Aref said.

    He said the shelling damaged the hospital and put parts of it out of service. He said three hospital staff members were wounded. Later, an airstrike hit near the hospital without wounding anyone, he said.

    In another attack, an airstrike hit near a hospital in the northern part of the rebel-held area, cutting off electricity and water supplies. Mohammed Abu Rajab, head of the M10 hospital, the largest of eight hospitals in eastern Aleppo, said the intensive care unit was most affected, as the generators and the oxygen supplies were knocked out.

    Abu Rajab said the ICU patients had to be moved to another facility. Water supplies and the hospital's fuel tanks were also hit, he said.

    The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists inside Syria, said the neighborhood where M10 hospital is located has been targeted by warplanes, helicopters and artillery since early Wednesday.

    Syriamap syria map aleppo sept 2016

    "It hit when we were asleep. No one has slept since and we are exhausted," said Abu Rajab. He said authorities "know this facility and where it is very well." No one was wounded in the attack, he said.

    Adham Sahloul of the US-based Syrian American Medical Society, which supports the two hospitals, said the attacks on the medical facilities took place at the same time, suggesting they were deliberately targeted. He said that while the two hospitals were not directly hit, the attacks caused structural damage to both.

    Sahloul said that one child who was in an ambulance died because he was not able to receive treatment during the chaos. Abu Rajab, of the M10 hospital, said two people had been killed because they could not receive treatment after the hospitals were attacked, but did not provide further details.

    Doctors Without Borders said the two hospitals have been forced to halt all activities, leaving just two hospitals with the ability to carry out surgery in a city experiencing "a brutal and relentless onslaught from air and land."

    It said in a statement that the strikes on the hospitals caused the deaths of at least two patients and wounded two medics.

    aleppo rubble assad regime air strike

    The Syrian government and its ally Russia have been accused of targeting medical facilities in rebel-held areas. The US-based Physicians for Human Rights has recorded 382 attacks on medical facilities and hospitals throughout Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011. Of those, 293 were carried out by government forces and 16 were conducted by Russian warplanes, it said.

    Hospitals in eastern Aleppo have been overwhelmed with casualties since the start of a government offensive last week after the collapse of a cease-fire. MSF, which supports all the hospitals in eastern Aleppo, said doctors have reported receiving more than 270 bodies and 800 wounded patients since last Wednesday.

    The U.N. children's agency said Wednesday that at least 96 children have been killed and more than 220 wounded in eastern Aleppo over the last five days.

    UNICEF deputy executive director Justin Forsyth said the military onslaught has left children "trapped in a living nightmare," adding that the shock and suffering among children "is definitely the worst we have seen."

    SEE ALSO: Kerry issues an ultimatum

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Gary Johnson stuns MSNBC panel over Syria civil war: 'What is Aleppo?'

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    F 15K

    The US government has approved $7 billion in sales of Boeing Co fighter jets to Kuwait and Qatar, and has begun an informal notification process with US lawmakers, two sources familiar with the decision said on Wednesday.

    The sales had been pending for more than two years, amid concerns raised by Israel, Washington's closest Middle East ally, that arms sold to Gulf Arab states could be used against it and concerns about human rights issues in Qatar.

    US officials began notifying lawmakers informally about the sale of 36 Boeing F-15 fighter jets to Qatar valued at around $4 billion, and 28 F/A- 18E/F Super Hornets, plus options for 12 more, to Kuwait in a deal valued at around $3 billion, the sources said.

    SEE ALSO: Duterte: Next joint US and Philippine military exercise 'will be the last'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The last harvest moon eclipse of the decade has come and gone — here’s what a harvest moon actually is

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    F-35 vs A-10

    Finally, the F-35 Lightning II and A-10 Warthog will face off in head to head testing to see if the F-35 can take over as the US Air Force's prime close air support platform.

    The testing of the two polar opposite aircraft is being carried out by the Pentagon right now, Kris Osborn of Warrior Scout reports.

    The tests come after Senate House Armed Services Committee Chair Senator John McCain grilled Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh in April on his proposal that F-16s and F-15s would take over the role of the A-10 after it's retirement. 

    "It’s really embarrassing to hear you say something like that," said McCain in response to Welsh's proposal to mothball the Warthog. 


    Since then, a scathing report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has come out that deeply questions the wisdom of retiring the A-10 and points to wide capability gaps that would be left by the Warthog's retirement.

    However, the F-35 has overcome several hurdles in the meantime, and proven itself as a capable aircraft that has surprised even those who were bullish on it from the start.

    Right now, Pentagon weapons testers are analyzing results from flight tests and simulated combat scenarios to see if the F-35 can really step up and handle missions the A-10 has mastered over decades.

    As the GAO uncovered, a big part of the reason why the A-10 succeeded in its unique roles is not only the plane's own design, a slow, low flyer that could absorb small arms fire and keep on ticking, but also the elite level of training the A-10 community received.

    Warthog A10 aircraft Air Force Al Asad Air Base Iraq.JPG

    Should the Air Force find that the F-35 could bridge the capability gap with sufficient training, the A-10 may finally be mothballed.

    However, Air Force officials said that right now they're looking at a few other options: upgrading existing A-10 airframes, buying an existing replacement, or just building a new plane like the A-10, Osborn reports

    SEE ALSO: Watch 12 B-52s take off in an exercise to demonstrate the US's 'nuclear prowess'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The Air Force's A-10 Warthog targets ISIS fighters with this massive gatling gun

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    US Navy Sailors

    The Navy is jettisoning its complex ratings system to make sailors' jobs more understandable and allow them to more easily transfer occupations.

    The move, which allows sailors to be addressed by rank, such as seaman, petty officer and chief, aligns the service for the first time with the other three military branches, which address troops by rank instead of job specialty.

    "I've never heard of a Marine who introduced himself as 'Infantry Corporal Smith,' " Cmdr. John Schofield, a spokesman for Navy Personnel Command, told "This is exactly what every other service does; it completely aligns us with the other services. I would just say that it makes complete sense in terms of putting more emphasis on rank and standardization."

    The changes are the result of an eight-month review initiated by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in January in as part of an effort to make job titles gender neutral as women entered previously closed fields.

    In June, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke announced that the review was being expanded with input from the master chief petty officer of the Navy and other senior leaders to examine ways to make job descriptions more inclusive, improve the job assignment process, and facilitate sailors' transition between military jobs or into civilian ones.

    A Navy administrative message published Thursday announced that the ratings system that included job and rank information -- intelligence specialist first class or chief hospital corpsman -- is being replaced with a four-digit alphanumeric Naval Occupational Specialty, or NOS, parallel to the military occupational specialties used by the Marine Corps, Army and Air Force.

    Sailors in ranks E-1 to E-3 will be addressed as "seaman;" those in ranks E4 to E-6 will be called petty officers third, second or first class; and those in ranks E-7 to E-9 will be called chief, senior chief or master chief, in keeping with their paygrade, according to the message.

    "There will no longer be a distinction between 'Airman, Fireman, and Seaman.' They will all be 'Seamen,' " the message states.

    The new NOSs will be categorized under logical job fields, similar to the organizational system used by the other services. According to a ratings conversion chart provided by Navy officials, the old ratings of Navy diver, explosive ordnance disposal specialist, and special warfare operator will be classified as NOS E100, E200 and E300, respectively.

    Schofield said sailors will be able to hold more than one NOS, a shift that will allow them to collect a broader range of professional experience and expertise while in uniform. Each NOS, he said, will be ultimately matched with a parallel or similar civilian occupation to "enable the Navy to identify credentials and certifications recognized and valued within the civilian workforce."

    "This change represents a significant cultural shift and it is recognized that it will not happen overnight, but will take time to become fully adapted," the message states.

    While the review began with an eye to gender neutrality, the ranks of "seaman" in the Navy and "midshipman" at the Naval Academy will stay, Schofield said. The terms were allowed to remain, he said, because they are ranks, not job titles.

    While the new NOSs will largely retain the original ratings titles, some -- such as yeoman -- may change to become more inclusive or more descriptive of the sailors' jobs. The updated list of job titles is still being finalized, Schofield said.

    The Navy's message to sailors is that the process isn't over yet, and it's not setting timelines for the completion of the ratings changeover.

    "Changes to personnel management processes, policies, programs and systems will proceed in deliberate and thoughtful phases that will enable transitions that are seamless and largely transparent to the fleet," the message states. "Fleet involvement and feedback will be solicited during each phase of the transformation. All aspects of enlisted force management to include recruiting, detailing, advancements, training, and personnel and pay processes are being carefully considered as we move forward."

    SEE ALSO: The F-35 and A-10 are finally going head to head to see which is better for close air support

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch the US Navy test out one of its newest ships by almost blowing it up

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    At 222 feet across, almost 300 feet long, and 65 feet tall at its tail, Lockheed Martin's C-5 Galaxy is the largest transport aircraft in the US Air Force. With a cargo hull 121 feet long and 19 feet across, the C-5 is a flying warehouse that can carry a combat-ready military unit or deliver necessary supplies anywhere in the world.

    The C-5 has a cargo capacity of 142 tons, the equivalent of carrying two M1A1 Abrams tanks, six greyhound buses, or 25,844,746 ping-pong balls. Below, see just how awesome the C-5's carrying capacity is.

    SEE ALSO: One photo shows the incredible firepower of the US-led coalition against ISIS

    SEE ALSO: These are all the planes in the US Air Force

    The C-5 Galaxy absolutely dwarfs humans.

    The engine alone is more than 7 feet across.

    Even large helicopters are tiny compared to the C-5.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    an aircraft director guides an fa 18c hornet onto a catapult aboard the aircraft carrier uss harry s truman

    America's aircraft carriers are the heart of the US Navy and serve as American territory floating around the world, allowing the US to project massive air and sea military might.

    During flight operations, an aircraft carrier's deck is an extremely dangerous place with expensive fighter jets and helicopters landing and taking off on a short runway. However, sailors and airmen mitigate risks by fine tuning the chaos with coordination and precision.

    Here are 24 pictures to prove there is really nothing quite like America's aircraft carriers

    SEE ALSO: 21 stunning photos prove the US Navy and US Marine Corps have the best diving boards and swimming pools

    SEE ALSO: 41 pictures that show why a US aircraft carrier is such a dominant force

    Tiger cruise participants commemorate their voyage with a spell-out on the flight deck on the USS Carl Vinson.

    An MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard.

    An aircraft director guides an F/A-18C Hornet onto a catapult aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    General Yermolov Cadet School

    In Russia's Southern city of Stavropol, children can attend a school that rewards academics with military-style field exercises like overnight camp-outs, weapons training and maintenance, and even parachuting.

    The General Yermolov Cadet School, named after Alexei Yermolov, a former Russian general and hero of the Caucasus War, teaches boys and girls a normal curriculum mixed with patriotism, military discipline, and maneuvers.

    In the pictures below, see how the cadet school molds Russian youths into soldiers.

    SEE ALSO: How the US's nuclear weapons compare to Russia's

    On overnight trips, the kids bunk together.

    The school includes boys and girls.

    Students, or cadets, are responsible for their gear, including rifles.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    People inspect a damaged site after airstrikes on the rebel held Sheikh Fares neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria October 1, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

    Syrian government and allied forces advanced north of Aleppo, pressing their week-long offensive to take the insurgent-held part of the city after dozens of overnight air strikes hit the besieged eastern sector, state media and a monitor said on Sunday.

    The Syrian military, supported by Iran-backed militias and Russian air power, began their offensive to take control of the whole of the divided city of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire broke down last month.

    An initial air campaign by Syrian government and allied forces more than a week ago was later reinforced by a ground offensive seeking to establish control over the besieged insurgent-held eastern half of the city.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and state television said the Syrian military and its allies advanced south from the Handarat refugee camp north of Aleppo city, which they took earlier this week, into the Shuqaif industrial area.

    Zakaria Malahifji, of the Aleppo-based rebel group Fastaqim, told Reuters there were clashes in this area on Sunday.

    The Observatory added that there was fierce fighting between rebels and government forces all along the front line which cuts the city in two.

    The relentless Russian and Syrian air campaign in east Aleppo has damaged hospitals and water supplies.

    East Aleppo came under siege in early July after its main supply route, the Castello Road, fell under government control.

    Russian airstrikes Aleppo Sept 20-22 2016

    Internationally brokered attempts to establish ceasefires to allow in United Nations humanitarian aid have failed, although other international and local aid groups have brought in limited supplies.

    The U.N's Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O'Brien, said he was "deeply alarmed by the ferocious pummeling of eastern Aleppo" and reiterated U.N. calls for a pause in fighting, medical evacuations and access for aid.

    "The health system is on the verge of total collapse with patients being turned away and no medicines available to treat even the most common ailments."

    "With clean water and food in very short supply, the number of people requiring urgent medical evacuations is likely to rise dramatically in the coming days," he said.

    On Saturday, the largest trauma and intensive care center in eastern Aleppo was badly damaged by air strikes and had to close. Two patients were killed.

    The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which partly supported the hospital, said the hospital had been hit seven times since July, with three attacks this week alone.

    Syriamap syria map aleppo sept 2016

    "The situation in Aleppo is beyond dire ... People are stuck under the rubble and we can't get to them because of the intensity of the shelling. We are pleading for help to stop the bombing," said Mohamed Abu Rajab, a SAMS nurse at the hospital.

    SAMS said only five hospitals remained operational in east Aleppo.

    The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media that the participation of Russia's air force in the conflict now in its sixth year had "tightened the noose on terrorist groups and reduced their ability to spread terror to other countries".

    The Syrian government refers to all groups fighting against it as terrorists.


    SEE ALSO: UN: Aleppo residents are facing 'a level of savagery that no human should have to endure'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Samsung now says it's too dangerous to even turn on your Galaxy Note 7

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    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while delivering a speech before female police officers during a gathering in Davao city, Philippines September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte apologized "profoundly and deeply" to the Jewish community on Sunday, and said his references to the Holocaust while discussing his war on drugs were to hit back at critics who had likened him to Adolf Hitler.

    Duterte said he recognized the comments made in the early hours of Friday had caused outrage among Jewish communities around the world, but he insisted his mention of the Nazi leader was to show how opponents had sought to portray him.

    "I would like to make it now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered," he said in a speech at a festival carried live on television.

    "The reference to me was, I was supposedly Hitler, who killed many people."

    He added: "I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community ... it was never my intention, but the problem was I was criticized, using Hitler comparing to me."

    More than 3,100 people have been killed since Duterte took office three months ago and launched a promised drugs war that was the bedrock of his campaign for elections, which he won by a large margin.

    Most of those killed so far have been drug users and pushers, with some deaths during shootouts in police operations and others the work of vigilantes, police say.

    Duterte, 71, has been nicknamed "the Punisher" for his tough stance on crime. He said on Friday he had been portrayed by critics as being "a cousin of Hitler" and said he would "be happy to slaughter" three million Filipino drug users and peddlers.

    Philippines drug

    The comments caused outrage, and follow other provocative public outbursts in the past few months.

    Duterte's narcotics crackdown has broad support among Filipinos fed up with drugs and crime, and he has lashed out at those who have challenged it, including U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

    He had vented his frustration again on Sunday at human rights groups and what he called "stupid" lawyers of the European Union.

    Duterte's spokesman on Saturday said Duterte rejected the Hitler label and his remarks the previous day were an "oblique deflection" of him being portrayed as a mass murderer.

    SEE ALSO: Philippines' President Duterte is traveling to China on a visit that could redraw alliances in East Asia

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The world’s largest pyramid is not in Egypt

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    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte leaves the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos September 6, 2016.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he had received support from Russia and China when he complained to them about the United States, in another broadside that could test his increasingly fragile alliance with Washington.

    Duterte said that during a meeting on the sidelines of a leaders' summit in Laos last month, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had agreed with him when he railed against the United States.

    "I met with Medvedev, I am revealing it to you now. I told him this is the situation, they are giving me a hard time, they are disrespecting me, they are shameless," Duterte said in a speech.

    "He said 'that is really how the Americans are', he said 'we will help you'."

    Duterte gave no further details about the nature of his complaints.

    His ire toward the United States has intensified since U.S. President Barack Obama said he would raise concerns about his deadly war on drugs.

    The White House canceled a meeting between them in Laos after Duterte had called Obama a "son of a bitch".

    Duterte said on Sunday he had raised objections about the United States to China also.

    "China said 'side with us, you won't benefit'," Duterte said. It was not immediately clear which Chinese official he was quoting, and when the remark was made.

    Duterte has said repeatedly during recent, frequent speeches that he planned to open new alliances with Russia and China, particularly for trade and commerce, as part of his pursuit of an independent foreign policy.

    Several commercial and diplomatic sources have confirmed to Reuters that a Philippine business delegation will accompany Duterte on a visit to Beijing from Oct. 19-21.

    Doubts over deal

    Rodrigo Duterte middle finger

    In another swipe at Washington, the firebrand leader said he would review a landmark security deal agreed with the United States, arguing it may not be legally binding because no president had signed off on it.

    Duterte's remarks show his intent to challenge or test the limits of a historic alliance that U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday called "ironclad".

    That came a day after Duterte declared joint U.S.-Philippines war games starting this week would be "the last".

    The Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), signed a few days before Obama visited the Philippines in 2014, allows U.S. troops to build storage facilities for maritime security and humanitarian and disaster response operations.

    It also gives broad access to Philippine military bases.

    Duterte said the EDCA would be reviewed, because it was signed by the then Philippine defense secretary and the U.S. ambassador, and not the country's president.

    Duterte did not explicitly say that he would seek for the deal to be scrapped, but in comments aimed at the United States, he said of EDCA: "It does not bear the signature of the president of the Republic of the Philippines..."

    Scarborough shoal map south china sea philippines manilla subic bay

    "Better think twice now, because I would be asking you to leave the Philippines altogether."

    Under the program, two C-130 transport planes and 100 U.S. servicemen have been at an air base in the central Philippines since Sept. 25 as part of a two-week exercise.

    EDCA was seen by analysts as an agreement designed in part as a deterrent to ward off moves by China to advance its interests in the South China Sea.

    Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, John McCain, has previously hailed EDCA as a landmark deal of the kind of significance "not witnessed in decades".

    Any indication it could be halted would be a big setback for U.S. efforts to boost its influence in Asia and counter that of a fast-rising China.

    Washington's defense agreements with the Philippines, its former colony, are more substantial than with any other country in Southeast Asia.

    Duterte's comments come at a time when U.S. defense ties with Thailand, another traditional ally, have been temporarily scaled back following the military's 2014 coup.

    EDCA faced a legal challenge from some Philippines lawmakers and activists concerned that it represented a challenge to sovereignty and would make the Philippines a launching pad for U.S. military intervention in the region.

    The Supreme Court ruled in January this year that it was constitutional.

    SEE ALSO: Gary Johnson's 'Aleppo moments' don't erase his solid foreign-policy platform

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Astronomers discovered a second ‘alien megastructure’ star that’s even stranger than the first one

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    The Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian delivers remarks at the grand opening of the Washington Post newsroom in Washington January 28, 2016. Rezaian was recently released from 18 months in prison in Iran. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Post reporter who was detained for more than 18 months in Iran after being accused of espionage has filed a federal lawsuit against the Iranian government.

    The lawsuit filed Monday by Jason Rezaian (reh-ZY'-ahn) together with his brother and mother accuses the Iranian government of subjecting him to torture and holding him hostage with the aim of "extorting concessions" from the U.S. government and others.

    Rezaian was arrested in July 2014 and released in January 2016 as part of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran. Iranian officials never specified why Rezaian was targeted. He denied the charges.

    The suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeks an unspecified amount of money under the terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

    SEE ALSO: Shimon Peres 2 years ago: I stopped Netanyahu from attacking Iran, and you can talk about it when I'm dead

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: There is a secret US government airline that flies out of commercial airports

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    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the military's Camp Tecson to talk to soldiers in San Miguel, Bulacan in northern Philippines September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

    The United States has not been contacted by Philippines defense authorities about President Rodrigo Duterte's comments on ending joint military exercises, the U.S. State Department said on Monday, noting it expected Manila to live up to its commitments.

    "We've not been officially contacted by the Philippine defense department authorities regarding President Duterte's statement," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters. "I'd also note that we'll live up to our commitments and we'll expect them to live up to theirs."

    Duterte said during a visit to Vietnam that he was "serving notice now to the Americans" that marine drills beginning in the Philippines this week would be the last with U.S. forces.

    SEE ALSO: Evidence that Syrian or Russian warplanes are using bunker-busting bombs to target underground hospitals in Syria

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: There is a secret US government airline that flies out of commercial airports

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    finnish f-18 hornet baana 16

    The Finnish Air Force just completed Baana 16, a military exercise where they practice launching F-18 Hornets and BAE Systems Hawk trainer planes off of highways.

    The video shows the Hornets smoothly launching off the highways and even landing with improvised arresting gear. 

    In a war situation, when airfields make attractive targets for enemy missiles and airstrikes, having the capability to launch from unconventional, unexpected places becomes a huge asset.

    Sweden also participated in the exercise using their domestically built Saab Gripen jets, according the a Finnish release.

    Watch the video from the Finnish Ministry of Defense below:

    SEE ALSO: Russia deploys advanced missile defense system to Syria after talks with the US fail

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Former Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura says today’s SEALs have changed in a major way

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    U.S. Navy Admiral John Richardson (L), the U.S. chief of naval operations, waits for Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo October 15, 2015. U.S. naval vessels sailing through international waters in the South China Sea, including areas claimed by China, cannot be considered provocative, the U.S. Navy's most senior uniformed officer said on Thursday, while a Chinese newspaper called for a firm response to any

    Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson has a problem with the acronym A2/AD (anti-access, area denial).

    Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Richardson declared that Naval communications would no longer employ the acronym which has come to be "bandied about pretty freely" and mean "all things to all people."

    “To ensure clarity in our thinking and precision … We’ll no longer use the term A2/AD as a stand-alone acronym ... we have to be better than that,” said Richardson.

    The term, which has been popular for the better part of two decades and a concept since virtually the beginning of warfare itself, has become so broadly used and applied as to be meaningless, according to Richardson.

    Several times in the past, Richardson has stressed that long range weapons developments from adversarial nations like Russia and China aren't the end-all, be-all of naval conflicts.

    aircraft carrier

    Just because China's "carrier-killer" missile has a greater range than the planes aboard a US aircraft carrier doesn't mean the US would shy away from deploying a carrier within that range, Richardson has stated on different occasions. 

    Again, Richardson challenged the notion that a so-called A2/AD zone was "an impenetrable keep out zone that forces can only enter at extreme peril to their existence, let alone their mission."

    Richardson took particular issue with the "denial" aspect of A2/AD, repeating his assertion that this denial is an "aspiration" not a "fait accompli." The maps so common in representing these threats often mark off the limits of different system's ranges with "red arcs that extend off coastlines," with the implication that military forces crossing these lines face "certain destruction."

    But this is all speculation according to Richardson: "The reality is far more complex, it's actually really hard to achieve a hit. It requires the completion of a really complex chain of events.... these arcs represent danger for sure... but the threats they are based on are not insurmountable, and can be managed, will be managed."

    China a2ad anti-access area denial

    "We can fight from within these defended areas, and we will... this is nothing new and has been done before," said Richardson.

    So while Russia and China can develop missiles and radars and declare their ranges on paper, things get a lot trickier in the real world, where the US has the most and best experience in operating.

    "Potential adversaries actually have different geographic features like choke points, islands, ocean currents, mountains," said Richardson, who urged against oversimplifying complicated, and always unique circumstances in so-called A2/AD zones. 

    "Have no doubt, the US navy is prepared to go wherever it needs to go, at any time, and stay there for as long as necessary in response to our leadership’s call to project our strategic influence," Richardson concluded.

    SEE ALSO: Russia deploys advanced missile defense system to Syria after talks with the US fail

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    NOW WATCH: Everything you've ever wanted to know about life on a US Navy submarine

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    chemical protection suit

    With threats of a mustard gas attack on U.S. troops re-emerging in ISIS-infested Iraq, a leading clothing technology company has developed an ingenious way to protect troops from the horrors of chem-bio warfare.

    Known more for its waterproof and breathable coating for rainwear and other outdoor equipment, W.L. Gore — the folks who make Gore-Tex — has developed a next-to-skin clothing system that protects against both chemical and biological warfare agents with just a thin layer of its so-called “Chempak” material.

    So, say goodbye to that hot, bulky, carbon-impregnated MOPP suit.

    “The big thing you think about with chem-bio suits is the thermal burden,” said Gore’s Mike Merrick. “You want to make sure you’re keeping that user as effective as possible which means you have to relieve heat stress and reduce that mobility restriction. That’s how we’ve designed this garment — to address that mobility restriction and range of motion and thermal burden.”

    The new Chemical/Biological Protective Clothing System developed by Gore is light, stretchy and thin, so it allows the operator unrestricted movement when things go kinetic. Gore also claims it 20 percent cooler than the current chem-bio suit.

    The best part is most observers would have no idea a soldier is wearing it, so for public events where security is worried about a potential terrorist attacks, the crowd won’t freak out seeing troops or police wearing bulky chem-bio space suits.

    “The benefits of this is it’s very concealable you could be wearing it under your clothes right now and I’d have no idea,” Merrick said during an interview at the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington.

    chemical suits prototype

    “Think of something like the Olympics where you don’t want to alert a stadium full of people that their could be a threat — you don’t want to walk around there in a big chem-bio suit,” he added. “But in the event something happens, you have a backpack, you pull a mask on you put gloves on and you’re good to go.”

    Another advantage of the Chempak material, Merrick says, is that it protects against both vapor-based chemical warfare agents as well as liquid-based biological weapons which the current MOPP suit does a poor job repelling.

    Gore has also developed a more robust system that includes a one-piece Union-Suit-like undergarment and a thin coverall. The advantage with this option is that it can be doffed and donned over a trooper’s uniform and can be configured for different missions depending on the environment. The inner protective layer can be worn under a coverall that matches the camo pattern of the service or agency, for example, rather than forcing units to buy entire suits in one color or pattern.

    “The benefit is that it’s got this removable outer shell. So that’s good for tailorability to the unit,” Merrick said. “If they want to change that outer garment for a jungle uniform or you’re Coast Guard and you’re doing a drug interdiction mission — its’ one chem-bio suit with two different outer garment coveralls, so the logistics burden is reduced and you don’t have to carry two different chem-bio suits.”

    American special operations units are already wearing the two-piece chem-bio undergarment on some missions, but Gore is gunning for the Pentagon’s replacement for the dreaded MOPP suit.

    SEE ALSO: Russia deploys advanced missile defense system to Syria after talks with the US fail

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    NOW WATCH: The military could grow future drones in chemical baths

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    US Navy UAE navy HSV Swift

    On Saturday, a guided missile struck the United Arab Emirates' HSV Swift, a high-speed ferry formerly operated by the US Navy off the coast of Yemen, prompting the US to respond with two guided-missile destroyers and an amphibious transport dock ship from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group, Fox News reports.

    "Rockets targeted an Emirati warship as it approached the coast of Mokha" on Yemen's western coast, Yemen's Iran-supported Houthi fighters said in a statement, reported by Al Jazeera.

    "It was completely destroyed," the Houthis said.

    The UAE has fought against the Houthi militants since last year as part of a Saudi-led coalition.

    A video released online shows the Swift, a catamaran-style transport ship of US design, a rocket launching, and the rocket hitting the ship and causing a sustained fire on the water as those near the camera cheer.

    The Emirati military confirmed that an incident occurred at sea while the ship was on a routine trip from Aden, Yemen, but it did not mention any injuries or deaths.

    The US ships USS Nitze, USS Mason, and USS Ponce have headed to the Bab el-Mandeb strait that links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

    Yemen map

    According to the US Naval Institute, "reports indicate the weapons used could have been Chinese-built C-802 anti-ship missiles ... or guided anti-tank weapons."

    "The attack is believed to be related to the ongoing conflict in Yemen and not an attack against general shipping. US Naval Forces Central Command has ships in the area and is working closely with our allies and regional partners to ensure the free flow of commerce," a defense official told USNI News.

    Shipping lanes and commerce are especially vital to Yemen, where the UN has said that 21 million out of 28 million Yemenis need some form of humanitarian aide and that half the country is likely malnourished.

    yemen UAE HSV swift

    If the missile that hit the Swift was indeed a cruise missile, it marks an escalation in hostilities and arms in use in the conflict.

    Though the US ships headed to Yemen can destroy incoming cruise missiles, Iran has shown time and time again it's not afraid to harass and threaten the US Navy at sea.

    Iran has military ties to Russia and China, both of whom produce capable cruise and antiship missiles. And Iran has been known to provide weapons to the Houthi militants in Yemen.

    Watch the footage of the missile strike:

    SEE ALSO: Chief of Naval Operations: We 'can fight' within Russia and China's missile defense zones

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    NOW WATCH: Obama said the White House previously announced the $400 million payment to Iran — here's the footage

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    kerry lavrov russia syria

    On Monday, the same day that the US and Russia suspended bilateral talks over the fate of Syria, Russia deployed its advanced SA-23 Gladiator missile defense system to Syria, US officials told Fox News.

    The SA-23 represents an interesting choice of deployment for Russia, as it fires two types of missiles, one that can counter any US cruise missile attack, and one that can counter intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

    As one US official put it sarcastically, “Nusra doesn’t have an air force do they?” referring to Jabhat al-Nusra (recently rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), an al-Qaeda linked group fighting against the Russian-aligned Assad regime in Syria.

    In fact, Nusra doesn't have an air force, neither does ISIS, nor do any of the myriad rebel or jihadist groups fighting against the Assad regime. None of them operate cruise missiles or intermediate-range ballistic missiles either. 

    operation inherent resolve coalition air forces isis

    Only the US and members of the US-led coalition have air forces and naval vessels capable of firing cruise missiles from the Mediterranean or ballistic missiles from intermediate ranges. The US openly considered the prospect of bombarding Syria with cruise missiles in 2013 when Assad crossed Obama's "red line" by using chemical weapons on his own people, though Obama ultimately declined to take this action. 

    Meanwhile, the international community has watched as Russian and Syrian warplanes bomb hospitals and UN aid envoys. Most recently, Russian, or Syrian warplanes with Russian support, have been linked to dropping bunker-busting bombs on hospitals built into caves specifically to avoid being targeted by airstrikes.

    sa-23 Antey 2500 SAM russian gladiator missile defense

    The move also coincides with Russia suspending an agreement with the US on disposing enough weapons-grade plutonium to make 17,000 nuclear weapons due to alleged "unfriendly acts" by the US towards Russia. 

    The SA-23 system joins Russia's advanced S-400 missile defense battery to create a layered air defense zone.

    SEE ALSO: Egyptian al Qaeda leader killed by US drone strike in Idlib, Syria

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    NOW WATCH: International investigation: MH17 was struck by a Russian-made missile

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    QF 16

    Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle of the US Air Force recently declared a squadron of 15 unmanned F-16s operationally capable, IHS Jane's reports.

    These drone versions of the F-16, called QF-16s, will provide targets for the Air Force as it tests out new weapons capabilities of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

    "The QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target will provide the next generation of combat training and testing for US warfighters," a Boeing statement on the drones said.

    While the old F-16s may seem like costly targets, the Air Force is touting them as a more realistic opponent than what was previously available, and they are economical to some extent because they're made from older, retired F-16 airframes.

    "The QF-16 will replace the existing QF-4 fleet and provide a higher-capability, fourth-generation aerial target that is more representative of today's targets and threats," the Boeing statement continued.


    "This leap forward in airframe capabilities, combined with advanced electronic pods, will allow us to properly test and evaluate our 5th generation aircraft and weapons," Lt. Col. Matthew Garrison, the commander of the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, told C4ISRNET in an email.

    In fact, an F-35 already participated in a test in which a QF-16 drone was shot down, though it did so with an SM-6 missile fired from a land-based silo.

    SEE ALSO: Watch an Iran-backed militia's missile strike that prompted US destroyers to head to Yemen

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    NOW WATCH: This is how pilots train to fly America's most expensive fighter jets

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    MH 60 Seahawk

    Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 is a Coronado-based expeditionary squadron. It is the first squadron to deploy a MH-60S Seahawk and MQ-8B Fire Scout composite detachment aboard Independence class littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4).

    On September 14, an MQ-8B Fire Scout launched from NAS Point Mugu performed “buddy lasing” for an Seahawk helicopter launched from NAS North Island.

    During a test, the Fire Scout drone detected a dynamic target, moving at approximately 10-15 knots inside the live-fire range off the coast of Point Mugu and transmitted its location to the MH-60S.

    Once all target requirements were met, the Fire Scout lased the target while the MH-60S moved forward and into position to successfully fire an AGM-114N Hellfire missile against the “slow mover.”

    “It was awesome to see the MQ-8B and MH-60S tactics and procedures being used in conjunction with each other for the first time,” said Lt. Cdr. Thanh Nguyen, one of the MH-60S pilots who participated in the exercise, in a US Navy release. “We were able to validate the Fire Scout’s ability to find and designate a target, which greatly expands the lethal range of the MH-60S while keeping air crews out of harm’s way.”

    The US Navy considers the use of the “hunter-killer” team in future deployments a game-changer as it greatly expands the range and effectiveness of the MH-60S while keeping the helicopter out of harm’s way.

    The Fire Scout has been already used in Afghanistan, off Africa (during anti-piracy ops) and during the air war in Libya: one MQ-8B drone copter was shot down during an ISR mission in support of NATO’s Operation Unified Protector.

    SEE ALSO: It’s time for the F-35 to start blowing up old F-16s

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    NOW WATCH: An inside look at Marine One — Obama’s favorite presidential perk

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    On Saturday, a United Arab Emirates high-speed ferry was struck by a guided missile fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

    Initially, the Emiratis only claimed that an "incident" had taken place at sea, and that no injuries had been sustained.

    However, new images show extensive damage done to the catamaran-style hull. It's hard to imagine the crew sustained no injuries when examining the wreckage left behind.

    Here are the photos:

    And here is alleged footage of the attack:

    SEE ALSO: Watch an Iran-backed militia's missile strike that prompted US destroyers to head to Yemen

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    NOW WATCH: This is why a US aircraft carrier is a force to be reckoned with

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